Crossing from Gamla Stan to Norrmalm on foot you pass over two bridges and another island, Helgeandsholmen, where you pass through the parliament building. One of the most prominent features of Normalm viewed from the Old Town is a tall church spire (106 metres), that of S:ta Clara. In the midst of the commercial centre the church stands in a quiet oasis of a churchyard. It was built 1577-90 on the site of a medieval nunnery church and convent suppressed in 1527 and demolished. This church was damaged by fire in 1751 and restored. The tower was encased in brick and a new taller spire built 1884-6, making it the tallest building in the city.
The interior is welcoming and with a constant flow of visitors who preserve a respectful silence. It is cruciform and ailsless, and still in a Gothic form, although the windows are devoid of tracery. the fittings date mainly from the restoration of 1751. The tower has 35 bells.
Crossing through the main shopping centre, and heading north east you will come across the splendid neo-Gothic church of St John. Yet until you cross into its churchyard you never see it, which is surprising given its size , its situation on a raised platform reached by a long flight of steps, and its steeple being in excess of 80 metres high. As you approach the church from the west (ritual, in reality south), to the right is a wooden bell tower of 1692. There was a church on the site from 1651, a chapel-of-ease to S:t Jakob. Luckily a project to replace this wooden church in 1783 came to nothing, and we now have Carl Möller's splendid church of 1884-90.
The brick interior is fully vaulted and lofty. The brick is banded for extra effect. W est tower, nave and aisles of five bays, crossing and transepts and five-sided E apse. The vaults are painted and most windows have stained glass (by Zettler, of Munich) making the interior rather dark even on the sunniest of days. Well worth the walk out from the centre.
Lies even further out, and may actually lie in Östermalm. This astonishing brick church of 1906-14 by Lars Israel Wahlman appeared open but was not sadly. It is open 1000-1500, I got there at 1502. It is impossible to describe, and as my batteries gave up on the digicam I have had to rely on kind people Emailing me some! The two above were received as per request but I forgot to note who had sent them. Thank you!
Orthodox Cathedral of St George
And as luck would have it, close by in Odengaten, is the S:t Georgio Metropolitkyrka (Metropolitan Cathedral of St George). Not a Russian/Greek style central building with many domes, but a Gothic simple church of west tower and spire, nave and lower apsidal chancel, in brick. The nave appears earlier than the tower and apse, and the Gothic details are less correct. Again no pictures. (If anyone would like to send me a JPEG for this site I would be greatful!)
Adolf Fredriks Kyrka
1768-83 by C.F. Adelcrantz on the side of an earlier burial-ground, a Greek cross in plan with a dome over the crossing. Inside many of the later embellishments were swept away as a major restoration in 1957-9 returned the church to its original appearance, with the exception of the frescoes over the crossing of 1899-1900. Opposite the pulpit is a memorial to the French philosopher Descartes, who died in Stockholm in 1650 and was buried in the cemetary (remains returned to France in 1666), erected 1780-1 by J.T.Sergel who also designed the main altarpiece of the Resurrection.
S:t Peter (Methodist Church)
this odd looking church occupies a street corner, and looks to be work of c1910. The (ritual) north west corner has a tower, the base hollowed out to form an entrance vestibule with a wierd column at the north west sheltered by a roof. Stairs sweep up to the main entrance (?) or gallery. Unfortunately locked.
From the west this church looks largely classical, from the east, much earlier Gothic forms are clearly to be seen. But that is not the story as the church was rebuilt 1580-92 and completed 1633-4. It stands on the site of a country church, pulled down after the reformation in 1527 by King Gustav Vasa in order to compel the country folk (!!) to attend services in the town. His son ordered the rebuilding of both this church and S:t Clara. The designer was a dutchman, Willem Boy. A fire damaged the roof and the tower in 1723, the rebuilding of which was completed in1739. Many people will remember this church painted yellow, but this was altered in 1968 back to the original red. The baroque altar piece has two C17 paintings but dates from 1936-7! Pulpit 1828 and organ case on a small west gallery dates from 1745-6.
Gamla Stan (The Old Town)